Swimming pools are a great source of entertainment and relaxation for families and friends. However, pool owners are often faced with choosing a suitable sanitizing method. Most who grew up with backyard swimming pools have grown accustomed to using chlorine. As innovation continues to flourish in all industries, the pool industry is no different. As chlorine is still a viable option for many pool owners, salt water pools with salt chlorination systems are rising rapidly.
We all agree that chlorine can sometimes irritate our eyes and skin, bleach our hair and swimsuits and give off a horrible chlorine smell. In addition, handling and storing it can be bothersome. So why use it? Here we explore another option, salt water pools.
First, we explain how salt chlorination systems work, followed by the cost of sanitizing with a salt system vs. chlorine, how much electricity a salt chlorinator uses, the benefits, and whether the salt system technology is safe.
How do salt chlorination systems work?
Salt water pools are sanitized using a salt chlorination system. A salt chlorinator is a device that produces chlorine by electrolysis. The saltwater passes through the cell of the chlorinator. As it does, the salt is converted into hypochlorous acid and sodium hypochlorite, the same active ingredient in traditional chlorine.
The salt cell is powered by a control unit connected to a power source, typically the pool pump timer. The chlorine generated by the salt chlorinator is used to sanitize the pool water, killing bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. So basically, salt is converted to chlorine and distributed evenly throughout the pool. Once the water is returned through the plumbing, it converts to salt, and the process starts again.
Salt chlorination systems are designed to work with a specific salt concentration. The salt concentration in a saltwater pool is typically between 2,500 to 3,500 parts per million (ppm), equivalent to about ten times less salt than in the ocean. Therefore, maintaining the salt concentration in the pool water is vital for the salt chlorinator to work effectively. Replenishing salt will only be needed if you backwash excessively, drain down the pool’s water or have a heavy splash out.
Cost to sanitize with a salt system vs. chlorine.
The initial installation of a salt chlorination system can be more expensive than traditional chlorine systems ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the pool’s size and the system’s quality.
However, salt systems can be more cost-effective over the long term than chlorine systems. Chlorine powder, liquid or tablets will no longer need to be purchased regularly and undoubtedly save you money. Yes, salt will need to be added once or twice a year, but certainly much cheaper than ongoing chlorine purchases.
Sanitizing with salt can save you about 50%. Conventional chlorine typically costs $2.00-$3.00/lb. While most of these chemical forms (tablets, powders, liquids) are not 100% pure chlorine. With many salt systems, the cost of automated chlorine by the salt cell is less than $1.00/lb. These savings add up fast. In addition, as there is less need for algaecides and other chemicals with a saltwater pool, it’s indeed an even more considerable cost saving.
How much electricity does a salt chlorinator use?
The amount of electricity a salt chlorinator uses can vary depending on the system’s and pool’s size. Generally, a salt chlorinator will use between 100 and 300 watts of electricity. Many systems use the equivalent of a standard 150W light bulb. It all depends on the model.
The amount of electricity a salt chlorinator uses will depend on how often the system runs. Is it working efficiently or in need of repair? Choosing a high-quality system means it will operate only for a portion of the time your pump is running, therefore, will save on electricity costs.
The benefits of salt water pools
One of the benefits of salt chlorination systems is that they are self-regulating. As the salt is converted into chlorine, the chlorine level in the water is maintained at a constant level. This means you do not need to add chlorine to the pool regularly, as with a traditional chlorine system.
In addition, salt systems are more environmentally friendly than chlorine systems, as they do not produce harmful byproducts like chloramines. Chloramines can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory system and contribute to algae and other contaminants forming in the water.
And to top it off, salt water feels much smoother than water sanitized directly with chlorine.
Is this technology safe?
High-quality salt chlorination systems are safe when installed and operated correctly. For example, Hayward Pool Products’ salt systems components are independently certified to strict standards by the National Electric Code and Underwriters Laboratory.
As salt water pools are safe to swim in, you may face a few material risks if improperly maintained. For example, salt water can corrode certain materials, such as metal in ladders and concrete pool decking.
So, will it be a salt water pool for you?
Contact BPS, The Backyard Pool Specialists in Texas, to learn more. Let us help you decide whether salt water pools are best for you and your lifestyle. Contact us here today to learn more.